Monday, September 24, 2007

September 15th: A Trip to Nagasaki; Day 1 - Peace Park

How sensible of us was it, we wondered, to have chosen Nagasaki for our late summer holiday, right in the middle of the typhoon season. Nagasaki is famous for its rain and Kyushu, the island on which Nagasaki is located, is often hit by typhoons in September as they head up from the South Pacific. Just a few days before our trip we heard that a typhoon was indeed brewing and it looked as if we would be rushed headlong into the eye of the storm...

However, we pressed ahead and when we arrived in Nagasaki, the sky was overcast but there was no sign of an immanent typhoon, so after a lunch stop at which one of our holiday objectives was achieved - namely, to eat Nagasaki Champon (see pic, above) - we set off by tram for our second objective: Nagasaki Peace Park in Urakami Valley, the northern district of Nagasaki that was hit by the second atom bomb on August 9th, 1945.

Seventy percent of the victims of the bomb were women, children and senior citizens. Some refugees from the atom bombing of Hiroshima on the 6th August arrived in Nagasaki just in time to be bombed again. So it goes.

It was hot work walking through the park on a humid late summer's day with the cloud cover gradually breaking up. The park stretches up the valley floor with grassy expanses framed by trees and tree-lined walks that lead to the hypocentre, which is marked by an austere black three-sided granite column. Nearby are part of the remains of Urakami Cathedral. The cathedral itself is located a few hundred yards from the hypocentre. It was totally destroyed, and some of its remains were moved to the immediate vicinity of the hypocentre.

From the hypocentre we climbed the steps up to the highest part of the park. At the southern end of the plateau there is a fountain that commemorates the terrible thirst which many felt on that day.

From there an avenue flanked by sculptures donated from various countries led the eye, and the legs, northwards towards the chief monument of the park. Notable among the works on either side of the path was the "Monument of People's Friendship" from that most people-friendly of ex-nations, the no-longer actually-existing German Democratic Republic, famous for its friendliness towards its own people (unless they wanted to leave or go on strike or set up political parties and so forth)...

Fountain at the south end of the avenue at Peace Park, Nagasaki (above). Monument of People's Friendship (right).

A plaque attached to the base of the fountain is a quotation from one survivor's testimony:
"I was thirsty beyond endurance. There was something oily on the surface of the water, but I wanted water so badly that I drank it just as it was."

The avenue leads to one of the finest modern statues in Japan, the powerful 10-metre-tall Peace Statue created by sculptor Seibou Kitamura.

Peace Statue, by Seibou Kitamura

The statue's right hand points to the threat of nuclear weapons while the left hand extends in a gesture of peace. The mild face, which one Japanese visitor observed was "like a foreigner's face" (although to me it appeared characteristic of a certain type of Japanese face), apparently symbolises "divine grace" while its eyes are closed in prayer for the repose of the bomb victims' souls. The folded right leg and extended left leg signify both passive and active aspects of peace-making. The black marble vault beneath the statue contains the names of the Nagasaki a-bomb victims and those who died of a-bomb related causes in subsequent years.

By now we were in need of some refreshment and there just so happened to be a tourist shop selling lots of natty trinkets as well as various flavours of ice-cream and various sorts of liquid refreshment, and complete with some trestle tables and sun brollies outside. I ought not to omit mention of the Hello Kitty dispensing machines that Little E was keen to try. She was well pleased with her "Mari-chan" pussy cat rattle. So it goes. Life goes on. The cool beer was very good. While we were relaxing there a group of young couples strolled by a couple of times and the slogan on one lad's t-shirt happened to catch my eye:


Next we visited Urakami Cathedral, which was totally destroyed by the a-bomb and eventually rebuilt in the red-brick Romanesque style of the original. Set up outside the church are several statues from the original church that survived the bombing, though not without surface damage - the statues are covered with what we supposed were scorch marks and a patina of lighter coloured blotches.

On our way back towards the tram stop we were caught in a sudden downpour and sought shelter beneath a shop awning until a kind taxi-driver turned his car around and came back to pick us up.

It stopped raining just a few minutes later, but still, it was pleasant to sit in air-conditioned comfort while the driver gave Mrs H the lowdown on Nagasaki until we arrived at our final destination of the day,
Nagasaki Hotel Seifu, perched at the top of one of the hills that dominates Nagasaki harbour.

The window of our room afforded us a fine view of Nagasaki harbour, and so did the balcony of the outdoor spa down on the third floor.

Nagasaki at Night, viewed from the window of Room 1001, Hotel Seifu.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday 13th September: One Man Show!

Tonight's mahjong session at the Docs' turned into a one-man show in the second and third games as Dr M Sr went on a winning spree mostly at the expense of Mrs M. The Junior Doc and myself were ducking and weaving on the ropes and only suffered minor defeat on points, but Mrs M hit the canvas under a succession of mighty blows and was out for the count.

The game started off more sedately, with the Oya moving swiftly from player to player until David made a stand and reached Ryanshi - i.e. the Oya either wins or finishes Tempai in four consecutive hands and in the fifth you need two Yaku to complete a hand. In the three-player game Ryanshi usually kicks in in the fourth game and occurs much more often than in the four-player games at the Docs'. In fact, tonight's Ryanshi may have been the first in all of the sessions we have played. Anyway, it enabled David to get enough points and "maru bonuses" onto the score chart to subsidize much of the rest of his evening. As he gave ground to the mighty Senior Doc, so he advanced in his progress through the contents of the beer fridge.

The Junior Doc also turned to the beer, in search of inspiration rather than consolation. Then, the Senior Doc joined in the beer drinking at the end of the evening to celebrate a record-breaking victory. Both the Junior Doc and I felt we had got off rather lightly.

The Doc's Homework

While at the Docs' I handed the Junior Doc a "children's book" for him to read for homework; Peter Connolly's Holy Land, which brings to life the people and events of the Holy Land in the time of King Herod.

The Doc seemed to think I was attempting to prosyletize him - the title of the book made him nervous - but much of the book deals with the history of Herod's rule in Palestine as a client king of the Roman empire, and the turbulent historical events that culminate in the fall of Masada in 73 AD. The story is compellingly told and augmented with a series of fascinating illustrations of the famous sites of Herod's reign as well as maps, photographs and a diagram of the herodian family's complex marriage alliances.

The book is aimed at the children's market, but is a great read for adults, especially for students of the Roman Empire! In our "History in English" classes the Doc and I are currently wading our way through the first volume of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which is a challenging read at times, but laced with dry humour. Peter Connolly's Holy Land is set in the period immediately before the events that Gibbon describes and presents the complexities that a local king had to deal with in attempting to impose his authority on an intractible people in the name of the Empire.

David Hurley

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday 7th September: Human Computer Upgrade?

It was a relatively quiet session tonight. The first game seemed to last an eternity with nobody above the bar by the end of the second South round (where the Japanese game usually ends), so we played on through a West round, though Noda, for some reason best known to himself, seemed to think that the game reverted to East even though it has always gone on to West, as Noda taught us all those years ago...

David made the first breakthrough in the West round and thought he was coasting home on +67,000 when Noda suddenly took back 24,000 on David's 9-Coin discard. That result put Noda in the lead. Then Kenyon added insult to injury by claiming a further large sum from David on the next hand, and then took some off Noda too to claim the top spot.

He promptly relinquished his hold on the lead in the second game. David won it, but Noda's second "second and in the black" result gave him the lead as David had merely cut back his deficit and was still stuck on the bottom of a rather modest looking pile.

Kenyon struck back in the third, but David managed to find some good cover while Noda stuck his head above the parapet and received some shrapnel wounds. So Kenyon now took the lead and Noda and David trailed on -21,000 each.

The senior players were fading even as the Cola King was bucking up. The second and third games had gone quite swiftly so we agreed to play a fourth game, but inevitably, it dragged out to seemingly interminable length. David stuck fast to his cover, but Noda couldn't resist sticking his neck out and having a gorp and in consequence he got his block knocked off.

The result sends Noda into the red and gets Kenyon off the bottom of the Grand Accumulated Results Table.

So now we are wondering whether Noda has lost the plot again and whether the Human Computer has had a new operating system installed? Apart from a few bugs and glitches, it - er, I mean "he" - seems to be running well again on a DC** energy flow after suffering a series of power surges and crashes earlier in the year.

Kenyon +36, -42, +48, +45 = +87
David -49, +31, -3, -2 = -23
Noda +13, +11, -45, -43 = -64

** Discount Cola

David Hurley


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Please Not To Read This Japlish...

Is forbidden to steal towels, please. If you are not person to do such is please not to read notice.
An hotel notice somewhere in Japan

David Hurley


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday 31st August: The Mahjong Mulligan?

Having found the Mulligan such a convivial companion on the golf course, I begin to think that he ought to take up mahjong, or at least keep the players company. I believe he may actually have put in an appearance or two at tonight's game. He certainly seems to have taken a shine to David who was in full tile toppling, forgetful fumble-bumble form in the early stages of the evening. It must have been old Mulligan who saved his bacon, for at no point was he forced to eat a "Chombo" sandwich. On two occasions in quick succession he found himself with only two tiles, which is not actually a "Chombo" as such, but it does have the inconvenience of preventing you from completing a hand without drawing two tiles at once from the wall, a feat of dexterity well beyond a fumbler-bumbler, so don't even think about trying it... The potential "Chombo" that was not forced home was when David cast out a tile, then forgot that he had done so and cast out a second, probably assuming that play had come back around to him again - the mind is quite capable of that type of peculiar and precipitous "looping the loop", such that it becomes incomprehensible to grasp how the brain can cope with the notion of keeping track of time and duration atall, especially when the person whose pate it occupies is busy attempting to gorge himself and play simultaneously. Durée et simultanéité are puzzling affairs at the best of times, as old Bergson was apt to point out. How on earth am I supposed to count the clock that tells the time and all that sort of thing when I can't even tell how much time has - if indeed any at all has, elapsed between one point and another? What, pray tell me Master Blake, is the difference between eternity and a grain of sand in an egg timer? Am I my brother's time keeper? How can I tell (apart from by paying attention) whether or not all the other players have played their tiles when I am trying to enjoy my fried rice and miso soup at the same time as I am attempting to play the game?

Anyway, when it was pointed out to David that he had discarded a second tile, he swiftly whipped it back into his hand (with a dexterity that suggests he might succeed in that old two-tiles-in-one-go trick) and looked a bit sheepish. Fortunately, Kenyon, sat to David's right, had not played his tile... [Was he actually involved in that part of the game? -Ed. [[Er, I dunno, now you come to mention it. - DH.]]] and so no Chombo was declared, which to my mind, is coming as close to declaring a Mahjong Mulligan as you are likely to get in an honest evening's play.

The remarkable thing about it is that by the end of the game David was the only winner. Looking back upon it now, we have to bear in mind that Kenyon had been drinking the afternoon away and all the cola in America could not restore him to his accustomed sobriety that evening. Jaime had also been indulging to some extent when David rolled into Kemby's a solid thirty or forty minutes later than the rest and was nicely teed up by virtue of hitting happy hour and knocking back two beers for the price of one (and paying through the nose for a pre-Kodama starter of soup and bread). Noda, too, had been at the sauce, it seemed. Emerging from his earlier stupor, David was able to play with a cheerful flexibility, as when he and Kenyon were commenting on his hand (while Kenyon sat out). It looked like it might head towards a bamboo forest, until David threw out the unattached 9-Bamboo tile and said to Kenyon "You wouldn't've done that would you?"

- No, I certainly wouldn't, said Kenyon.

It looked as if Kenyon's path would have been the sounder when another 9-Bamboo appeared in David's hand and was promtly discarded. It now consisted of an Iipeiko set and three sets of pairs plus two odd tiles; but when David drew a 5-Coins and kept it and threw the 8-Coins Kenyon thought he'd really lost the plot as it seemed to break up the potential of the attached 7-7-8 series. However, he got it when Jaime threw out the red 5-Coins and David promptly declared "Ron - Chiitoi... etc." A double run of three can serve just as well for Chiitoi as for Iipeiko!

Well, whatever the circumstances, the evening had a pleasant buzz to it as the four of us had not played together for a while, Noda having gone a golfing in Ireland with his chums, and Kenyon having returned to America.

- So how was the golf in Ireland Mr Noda?

- Very good, beautiful courses - but very difficult. The rough is really long grass. The caddies had a special skill, which is, they can find the ball very easily even when it is completely hidden by long grass... Our chauffeur's English was very difficult for me to understand at first.

- Do you realize, Mr Noda, that the annual per-capita income in Ireland is higher today than it is in Japan?

- I didn't know, but everything was very expensive.

Having run out of fascinating facts to dispense about the state of contemporary Ireland that might be easily comprehendible to the oriental mind, I returned my attention to the game to find that we were half way through the second game and Noda had built up a huge lead and emptied my tray!

At the beginning of the third, David's request that we abide by convention and change seats was outvoted by Jaime and Kenyon, and Noda acquiesced in their wish, as you would when your seat has just yielded a +73 crop!

It turned out, however, that David's seat, despite that setback, was favoured by the gods. At least, it was favoured by the gods until the end of the third game, when we finally changed seats and Jaime took David's former seat. It transpired that David's luck was of the mobile sort and it fled with him and pitched its tent where David set up his camp in Noda's former seat and spent the rest of the evening
waxing valiant in fight and turning to flight the armies of the aliens in his behalf.

David +35, -56, +39, +39, +36 = +93
Noda -17, +73, +5, -8, +15 = +68
Kenyon -6, -6, -6, +4, +3 = -11
Jaime -12, -11, -38, -35, -54 = -150

The result puts David back on top, with Noda now +46 and Jaime down to third on +91.

David Hurley

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Forest Hills Golf Resort: A Duffer's Progress

Up with the lark I was on this bliss-was-it-in-that-dawn-to-be-alive sort of morning and marching off in short order with a set of golf clubs strapped to my back, and the daughter firmly in hand, towards the nearby tram stop. However, on second thoughts, we diverted to the taxi rank and pootled along to said daughter's nursery school; much better than struggling so beset and encumbered aboard the Hiroden tram and being jostled by the noxious throng of early morning commuters. Having dispatched the daughter, I had the taxi-wallah drive me on to Itsukaichi station where I would be in good time to hop onto the train that arrives from and returns to Hiroshima-eki, a train that, since it disgorges the whole of its cargo at Itsukaichi and then returns thither from whence it came, does not come pre-loaded with passengers from every station all the way up the line to Iwakuni, if you see what I mean. A chap with a set of golf clubs can board and set up his tent with comparative ease.

Not only that, but the train arrived at Hiroshima station just in time for me to meet Jaime and hop straight onto the shuttle-bus to Hiroshima airport, which is out in the hills to the east of the city. We went up to the golf club by taxi from the airport, just a five-minute drive through a country park.

After the stirling work we had both put in at Mitaki Golf Centre (see previous blog) we were feeling chipper and confident that we could hit our respective targets.
  • Jaime's target: Go around in less than 100.
  • David's target: Go around in less than 130. Avoid double figures on any hole.
So sanguine were our hopes and so blasé our manner that we neglected to do any sort of practice at all before sallying forth at full speed in our golf buggy, with Jaime at the wheel and David holding on for dear life. One of the attractions of golf is definitely the golf-buggy-racing aspect of the day, complete with a full compliment emergency stops that have the tires smoking and screaming for mercy.

We were ten minutes or so ahead of schedule, which is just what a duffer needs in order to tee off without having a queue of competent players (i.e. everybody else) lounging around waiting and watching in sullen and contumlious silence...

There is nothing more certain to bring the goof out of your duffer than the feeling that his every move is being observed and unfavourably appraised by the lifetime membership of the clubhouse.

Jaime teed off and sent his ball soaring up the fairway and into the undergrowth. David then lined himself up, glanced over his shoulder to make sure that no golf buggies full of observers were approaching, took a hasty swing, and claimed his first Mulligan of the morning.

I shall spare the reader the anguish of having to wade through the whole catalogue of disasters that caused that unfortunate player to saunter off the green of the first hole with a score that was already into double figures and one of the targets of the day's play already rendered unobtainable.

The bunker which my ball found its way into on the second hole had been cunningly cut in the shape of a four petalled flower. Very pretty it was. Here is a photo of my ball taking its rest in the bottom of the bunker, with the green just beyond. A hearty swipe at the base of the ball with the sand wedge lifted it beyond the bunker and onto the - whatsitcalled? - proto-green band of cropped grass that runs around the green-proper. Mind you, half a bucket of sand followed the ball out of the bunker, but the wedge had done its job and got me out of a hole.

The one patch of blue sky that remained on my horizon was my putting. Two putts apiece on the first two holes had helped to keep my batting average just below double figures, despite the disaster on the first hole...

Jaime was fairing little better, and indeed, had I not been so spendthrift on the fairway, I might have done better than he. It took us both eight whacks to get our balls to go down the second hole. Jaime's really disastrous hole, however, was the fifth, a par 353-yarder off the front tee with a leftward dogleg halfway up the fairway. Curiously, up until the eighth hole, the fifth was my best. I registered a double-bogey (I forget if Mulligan presided over the scorecard or not on this hole). Jaime's lengthy drive overshot the fairway just at the turn and disappeared into the trees. My drive sent my ball straight onto the middle of the fairway, one of my better efforts off the tee. It took me another shot with the five or six iron to catch up with Jaime, but when I arrived I was not greeted by a very happy site. After thrashing through the undergrowth and reclaiming his ball, Jaime attemted to lift it over an obstructing tree and send it up the second half of the fairway. This resulted in the ball's hitting the tree and returning to the undergrowth a couple of times. By now, Jaime had spent more time thrashing in the undergrowth than he had spent on the fairways.

Meanwhile, if the scorecard is accurate, it appears that I managed to get my ball to land on the outskirts of the green on my third stroke, and three putts in for the precious double-bogey that put me in poll position for the sixth tee.

At the sixth, our performances returned to the mean, with Jaime scoring a bogey and me scoring a quadruple-bogey.

After that, on the return to the clubhouse for a welcome lunchbreak, our scores were:


Over lunch the balmy weather gave way to wind, rain, thunder and lightning. Play was delayed for about an hour. That, and the deleterious effects of lunch, did nothing for our form. Having avoided the dreaded double figures for the last eight holes, I promptly racked up two tens in a row...

I had been hitting my balls high off the tee today, but off the 12th the fault achieved ridiculous proportions as the ball sailed up into the middle air and landed on the ladies' tee about twenty yards away. I called upon the services of the Mulligan, popped over to the ladies' tee, picked up my ball and briskly returned to the yellow tee. My second (or, according to Mulligan, "first") shot I then topped to send it into the rough towards the approach of the fairway.

It was only then that I realized with horror and mortification, that the whole pantomime had been observed by one of the rather fetching young female caddies who had driven out from HQ to tell us that the lightning that was flickering away on the horizon, and the onset of rain, meant we had to return to the clubhouse.

Jaime, who had hit a rather good long shot off the tee, left his ball where it was for all to observe and wonder at. I, on the other hand, once again picked up my ball and popped it into my pocket.

Play resumed about half an hour later, and I teed off with a bit more success this time, still counting the stroke as my first for the 12th and walked off the green with a double-bogey on my score card, one shot ahead of Jaime!

Back in poll position for the 13th, a par 3 with the green on the other side of a tree and pond-filled valley. In a previous outing I had scored a bogey on this sort of hole by virtue of the unconventional employment of my driver, reasoning that since I was playing MY game, and since my best straight shot with a driver would send the ball about 140 yards, I'd use a driver. It worked a treat and plopped my ball on the green, to Noda's incredulity! But I feel my game has risen above the need to resort to such desperate devices, so I pulled out the no. 8 iron and landed the ball in the semi-rough a short pitch from the green. The pitch worked perfectly and set me up for par... a very doable putt, which did do indeed. My first (and only) par of the day, and poll position retained!

That was soon lost on two consecutive triple-bogeys, at which point we were called in once more as the weather conditions deteriorated.

This time it looked as if our day was over and so we both pronounced our indifferent game as "null and void" and settled down in the club dining room for cheese and biscuits washed down with some refreshing nappy ale.

An hour and a half later, our blissful state was disturbed by the realization that a patch of blue as small as a man's hand had broken through the sea of clouds. So we, refreshed now from our relaxation and keen to complete the course after all, girded up our loins, hitched up our chariot once more and headed off into the murk and the gathering gloom to polish off our game before the rain stopped us once and for all.

We had teed off at ten to nine in the morning, and came off the eighteenth at four thirty in the afternoon and had achieved none of our aims. I had thought that despite it all, on 138 I had broken my record, but I have discovered a golf card from our game with Noda at Tokuyama Country Club which informs me that I scored a respectable (at least in my book) 136.

David Hurley

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mid-August: A Duffer's Preparation at Mitaki Golf Centre

I have learnt to love the Mulligan rule in golf. It has enabled me to claim that my golf is getting better. By batting from the yellow tee with a liberal application of "the Mulligan", I have been able to whittle my score down to a personal best of 138 over 18 holes.

It should also be noted that some diligent pre-match practice was indulged in by Jaime and myself at Mitaki Golf Centre.

Mitaki Golf Centre looks down upon the salubrious hillside settlement of Mitaki on the western fringe of Hiroshima. We hauled our clubs up the hill to blast away at a liberal supply of balls on three afternoons prior to our recent game. We always opt for the "
uchihoudai" option, which allows you to belt an unlimited supply of balls up the driving range.
  • uchi - (v, t) (1) to hit (something inanimate); to strike; to beat (on something); (2) to type; to tap (e.g., a key); (3) to inject; (4) to indulge in gambling

  • houdai - (n, n-suf) as much as you would like to
By virtue of the sheer volume of balls that we go through, the practice sessions, are productive of much sweat and industry, and even, it should be said, though perhaps not by myself, of progress in the art of belting little balls with long thin sticks over vast expanses of closely cropped grass.

As a result, I am now quite at home with the higher irons, from no. 9 down to no. 5. Heretofore, it had been a peculiar, indeed singular, circumstance of my brief and eventful golfing career that no matter what iron I chose, the ball, if I hit it, and by whatsoever trajectory the laws of ballistics would cause it to adopt, never appeared to travel farther than a ball that has received a hefty wallop from the trusty no. 9 iron, which was the first of the irons to bend its neck to my yoke.

However, by virtue of diligent application, and by gradually gaining the confidence to give my no. 5 iron a bit of welly on the downward swing it now appears that it can outpace the no. 9 for distance when everything else goes relatively well -
videlicet, once in every four or five wallops or so.

There were two moments of pure farce during our three practice sessions. The first was supplied by Jaime.

Jaime was practising with his fairway driver when suddenly I heard a yelp of anguish. I turned around to see him poised at the end of what must have been a mighty swing, but holding aloft nought but thin air.

"It slipped out of my hands," he said. "It's gone over the roof. I might have killed somebody on the other side..."

I had to point out that its-going-over-the-roof was an utter impossibility since the roof jutted out about three feet beyond where we were standing and was about five feet above our heads.
The puzzling thing was that the club was nowhere to be seen and nobody seemed to have noticed what had happened. Happily there were no cries of pain and outrage from the lower deck. So Jaime went off and searched for his errant club and it turned out that the club had flown off to his left, and landed to the side of the driving range out of harm's way.

The second moment of pure farce involved my driver and a rubber tee that is attached to a weight by a piece of old string...
The purpose of this device is to offer a higher tee than the golf-ball-dispensing-machine can provide.

The golf-ball-dispensing-machine is itself a creaking electronic contraption into which you pour a bucketful of balls and have them delivered to your tee one at a time - in theory at least. If you take too long teeing up your shot, a second ball comes rolling out and knocks the first ball off the tee. Or, no balls emerge at all. It always seems to be my machine that suffers a blockage. I am forever rummaging around with my balls trying to get them to flow down the nozzle. At one point the whole machine packed up and I had to resort to the failsafe computer-salvaging technique of unplugging it from the mains and immediately plugging it back in when nobody was looking.

Anyway, back to rubber tees...

You stick your ball on top of a four or five inch high rubber tube and whack it with your driver. The rubber tee is attached to the weight to stop it flying away. That, at least is the theory. It so happened that when I took an almight thwack at my ball with my driver I felt that certain
frisson of impact at the bottom of the swing that is indicative of the club head having hit, or sailed through, its target point. However, when I opened my eyes, I saw my ball quite contentedly sat at my feet. The rubber tee was nowhere to be seen. To be sure, the weight was still there, but the tee had disappeared into thin air as surely as Jaime's fairway driver had; the only difference being that I did not deign to go and search for it.

It had seemed to me until the third of our preparatory practice sessions, that everybody else who goes to Mitaki Golf Centre is competent at his game. I am happy to report, however, that our third session was something of a duffers' congress and I was by no means bottom of the class. Two lads occupied a couple of slots at the far end next to the mirror (where you can study your swing - a vanity in which I have not dared to indulge). Many of their balls ended up in the foliage to their right, several did not move at all, and one came whistling past my ears as I was teeing up what would have been a fine shot with the driver had I not been put off.

A couple of older blokes took the two places next to me but seemed keener on chatting and laughing than on practising - and it became evident why that was so when they did finally apply club to ball.

The good thing about a driving range is that you can get into a rhythm and blast ball after ball without too much trouble. Jaime sent numerous balls so far that they appeared as no more than specks of dust upon the horizon so we both had some justifiable cause to feel confident about our game at Forest Hills on Tuesday 21st August...

I shall expatiate upon the exigencies of that day's play, and upon the virtues of the Mulligan, in my next post.

David Hurley

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button